Elvin Baca: North Carolina man charged with murder for killing roommate and burying body in 'shallow' backyard grave

Elvin Baca: North Carolina man charged with murder for killing roommate and burying body in 'shallow' backyard grave
Elvin Baca was detained for killing his 69-year-old roommate (New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA: Following the discovery of his roommate's body "buried in a shallow grave" in the house backyard, authorities in North Carolina have charged a man with first-degree murder and failure to report a death.

The New Hanover County Sheriff's Office detained Elvin Noel Baca on Wednesday, March 27, after his 69-year-old roommate, Lawrence Grabka, was found dead as authorities "unearthed the tragic reality of a homicide," as the department stated in a Facebook post.

Grabka had been reported missing by a friend.

Elvin Baca detained without bond

In the 911 call, the friend tells the operator that Grabka had not picked up the phone when she called on Tuesday, and that his door was unlocked when she showed up.

“He’s not home, his wallet’s there, his phone is there. He has no car or license. I take him on, to his grocery shopping. I take him for all of his needs,” the friend said during their call to 911.

Deputies of the Sheriff's Office went to the North Carolina house in the 5500 block of Myrtle Grove Road near Sea Gull Lane for a welfare check. There, they met Baca, Grabka's 34-year-old roommate.

Police posted on social media that Grabka had been murdered and buried in a "shallow grave" in the backyard of the house.

After the discovery, investigators employed "meticulous forensic work". Following this, Baca was taken into custody at the New Hanover County Detention Facility.

Baca later appeared in the New Hanover County court on Thursday, March 28, according to NBC affiliate WECT. He was not given bond.

The outlet stated that his next court date is April 18. Baca reportedly has a court-appointed counsel, according to WWAY.

As on Saturday, March 30, he is listed on the sheriff's office website as "waiting for trial".

“The circumstances surrounding this case are deeply concerning, and our thoughts are with the victim’s loved ones during this difficult time; our priority remains seeking justice for the victim,” Sheriff Edward McMahon wrote in a statement.

Lawrence Grabka's friend remembers him as 'sweetest man in the world'

Grabka's friend Katherine Roush said that he was "the sweetest man in the world" and "did not deserve" to die, after his body was found.

“He was just the kind of guy, you know, if you met him, you’d want to chat with him. You’d want to chat with him and get to know him better. He was just a sweetheart," she added.

“I warned him. Get rid of this guy, and he was so nice that he didn’t want to kick him out on the street," she said of Grabka's roommate and murder accused Baca.

"That’s why I told Larry for a long time, ‘He’s not right Larry and you don’t know what he’s capable of, so please, let’s get somebody else to rent the room'."

Additionally, she said to WECT that she saw Baca "the night he probably did it".

"Larry wasn’t answering his phone," she recalled. "So, I stopped in and Larry wasn’t home. [Baca] was sitting in his car. He said he hadn’t seen him and he smiled at me and told me he loved me. Yeah, I can’t get that image out of my head."

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